- Chris Ashby
Tom Oliphant Shows Fighting Spirit On Frustrating Weekend At Donington Park
Tom Oliphant showed his fighting spirit during an otherwise frustrating penultimate event of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season this past weekend (October 9/10) at Donington Park.
Having been a happy hunting ground for him in the past, the Team BMW driver’s ‘never give up’ attitude was tested at the Leicestershire venue as a lack of pace left him fighting outside the points-paying positions across all three races.
Dialling in his West Surrey Racing BMW 330i M Sport during Saturday’s two practice sessions, the competitive nature of the BTCC was on full display during qualifying as the 31-year-old ended the session 18th - despite being a little over half a second off the fastest time set.
Keen to make progress from the ninth row of the grid, Oliphant found himself in the thick of the midfield action during what was a fraught opening encounter under the flightpath of East Midlands airport.
Dropping a spot on the opening lap, the rear-wheel-drive ace fought back up the order to cross the line in 16th, narrowly missing out on a points finish.
Oliphant’s frustrating race day at the Leicestershire venue would continue in the second bout as contact early on dropped him down the order and ultimately on to take the chequered flag in 24th.
Starting the reverse grid contest towards the back of the grid, the two-time race winner was able to progress up the order to 20th to bring what had been a challenging weekend to a close.
Tom Oliphant: “It has been a dreadful weekend, simple as that. I gave it everything I had across all three races but we just didn’t have the pace to overtake, even when we were fighting to get into the top 20.
“We improved the car throughout Saturday but we just seemed to struggle in a straight line compared to other cars and that left us qualifying down in 18th, which made Sunday that bit more difficult.
“Despite throwing plenty of changes at the car we just didn’t have the speed and that is evident given the results. That isn’t where we should be so we’re going to look into everything, see what exactly has gone on and hopefully get back to where we should be at Brands Hatch.
“Heading into the finale I just want to end the year on a high with three solid results and help BMW/WSR wrap up the Manufacturer/Constructor title.”
Brands Hatch’s legendary Grand Prix circuit plays host to the final three races of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship on October 23/24.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.